Tuesday, 25th June 2024

How the Iowa-Indiana make up all came together

Posted on 21. Feb, 2014 by in Iowa Basketball

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

After seeing a 50-pound piece of metal debris postpone their game at Indiana on Feb. 18, the No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes will officially make up the contest six days from now on Feb. 27. The make up game will be played at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

Below is a timeline of events that led to Friday’s announcement of when the make up game would take place, all of which was confirmed to HawkeyeDrive.com via sources over the course of the last 72 hours.

Tuesday, Feb. 18: The postponement and not making the game up in Indianapolis

It all started around 2:30 p.m. ET when that piece of metal, which was approximately 8 foot long by one foot wide, fell from the ceiling of Assembly Hall and damaged seats around Section F. At around 3:50 p.m. ET, Indiana athletics director Fred Glass made the decision to postpone the game, citing safety as the No. 1 priority. Iowa was at its hotel in Bloomington getting ready to conduct its pregame meal when news of postponing the game was made.

This decision wasn’t without controversy, however. Once the game was postponed, there were discussions about moving the game to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and making it up on Feb. 19. The Indiana Pacers initiated the discussions and reached out to both teams about doing this.

The Iowa camp was not only “open” to playing the make up in Indianapolis as Glass mentioned during a press conference that evening in Bloomington. This was exactly what Iowa wanted. Before any final decision was made, the Iowa camp was “hopeful” of playing in Indianapolis because all it would’ve meant was staying in Indiana an extra night and then heading back to Iowa City once the game was completed.

But while Iowa was willing to let a make up game in Indianapolis happen, Indiana was not. Glass declined the Pacers’ offer and confirmed it was his call during that press conference. When asked why he turned the offer down, Glass cited logistics as the issue — things like dealing with season-ticket holders and seating arrangements and having to figure all of that out in less than 24 hours.

Once the Hawkeyes were informed they wouldn’t be making the game up right away, the decision was then made to head back to Iowa City later that evening. Shortly after that decision was made, Iowa athletics director Gary Barta issued a statement confirming that’s what the Hawkeyes would do.

Two planes flew into Monroe County Airport in Bloomington later that night to bring everyone in the Iowa camp back to the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, where charter buses would then be to return everyone to Iowa City. The first plane was solely for players and coaching staff. The second plane was for the remainder of the traveling party.

Prior to the team leaving Bloomington that night, a source told HawkeyeDrive.com Iowa was open to making the game up next week under the conditions the game be moved to either Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City or to a neutral site elsewhere. At this point in time, there was no definitive certainty about Assembly Hall being ready in time and concern naturally existed about having to play somewhere that a piece of metal just fell from the ceiling and could’ve done more damage had it happened hours later than it did.

While the two best options outside of Assembly Hall would’ve likely been Carver-Hawkeye Arena and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, neither looked realistic for the night of Feb. 27. The Pacers play a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Iowa women’s team plays its home finale against Ohio State in a nationally televised game on the Big Ten Network.

Wednesday, Feb. 19: Reality of returning to Bloomington settles in

With everyone inside the Iowa basketball program back in Iowa City, disappointment over not making the game up in Indianapolis continued to linger. But in spite of that frustration, discussions with Indiana continued while the players and coaches shifted their attention toward playing their next game against Wisconsin.

In Bloomington, engineers inspected Assembly Hall and were able to confirm what they believed to be the cause of the debris falling in the first place — snow and ice accumulation. With that in mind, the arena seating was reconfigured so a women’s game between Indiana and Michigan could be played that night as scheduled, something Glass initially said would still go on. Since attendance wouldn’t be as pertinent an issue, this move was given the green light. It should also be mentioned that the Michigan women’s team was en route to Bloomington as the Feb. 18 press conference took place.

Glass met with reporters in Bloomington to discuss the findings done by engineers. He mentioned how Indiana’s next scheduled home game against Ohio State on March 2 would go on at Assembly Hall as scheduled because all repairs needed to get done would be done in time. When asked about a possible make-up against Iowa taking place next week, Glass said he was confident about three things: That Assembly Hall would be ready “well before” Ohio State came to town March 2, that an agreement would be reached with Iowa within the 72-hour time-frame handed down by the Big Ten, and that the make up game would be played at Assembly Hall.

About two hours after Glass finished speaking to Indiana reporters, a source told HawkeyeDrive.com, “All signs point to next Thursday in Bloomington.” Later in the evening, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said on his radio show he expected the game to be played next week and that an announcement would come Feb. 20, one day before an announcement was actually made.

Iowa ironing out logistics

Before anything could be set in stone, a few remaining details on Iowa’s end needed to first be hammered out. The two most significant details needing finalization had to do with travel to Bloomington for a make up game and with Iowa’s game the following weekend at home against Purdue.

Once it became inevitable the Hawkeyes would be making a return trip to Bloomington, the following travel itinerary was being assembled: Instead of flying back to Cedar Rapids after their game at Minnesota on Feb. 25, the Hawkeyes’ charter would just fly them directly to Bloomington from Minneapolis. The reason for doing this would be so Iowa players had the opportunity to sleep in at the team hotel that following morning and be fully recovered before given a game plan for the Hoosiers.

Going this route would also prevent the Hawkeyes from flying a charter plane four consecutive days in a row with only one day now between road games. The Big Ten has a rule in place where (if possible), teams must be present the night before at the site of wherever their upcoming game is. So for instance, the Hawkeyes play at Minnesota on Feb. 25. Barring any unusual circumstances, they would have to be in Minneapolis the night of Feb. 24 to ensure the game takes place. For a Feb. 27 game in Bloomington, the Hawkeyes would have to be there no later than the night of Feb. 26. With this in mind, they figured by going directly from Minnesota to Indiana, that’s one less day of travel to worry about.

But before Iowa could do this, authorization from UI administration was needed and it wouldn’t be handed down the night this plan was being put together. The reason needed for UI administration to sign off is simple. The players are still considered student-athletes in college and flying directly to Bloomington would mean all of them would be missing more classes.

Even though the reason for all this was beyond the team’s control, this was the key hold up preventing a decision from being made earlier than it was because the UI wanted to make sure every Iowa player had their academic matters in order first. It also wanted to make sure the program wouldn’t be going over its allotment of eight days of classes players are allowed to miss during the semester.

The approval from UI administration came Feb. 20, which was the earliest anyone inside the Iowa camp was expecting it to come. McCaffery later confirmed this is exactly what the Hawkeyes would do. One major hurdle was cleared.

Rescheduling the Purdue game

Then there’s the remaining schedule itself. One of the reasons why Feb. 27 was considered a feasible option was because it was realistically the only option for making the game up once the Indianapolis proposal was shot down. Both teams play road games on Feb. 25 and both play home games that first weekend in March. While making the game up on either March 10 or March 11 might have proven more fair to the Hawkeyes, it would’ve never happened since it would’ve cut into the Big Ten’s preparation time for the league’s tourney later that week in Indianapolis.

Up until Feb. 10, the Hawkeyes’ schedule had their home game against Purdue listed as happening on “either” March 1 or March 2. Just last week was when the Big Ten made the decision to have Iowa’s game against Purdue on March 1.

Once the Hawkeyes realized they would be playing two road games in three nights, the plan turned to moving the Purdue game back one day to March 2, which again, was listed as a possible option in the first place. Before anything was finalized, one source insisted the Purdue game would “for sure” be pushed back to March 2 if Iowa had to make up its Indiana game on Feb. 27.

Doing this would allow Iowa to have two days between games instead of only one and it wouldn’t have a dramatic effect on the final week of their regular season.

Moving that game to March 2 also wouldn’t deter the Boilermakers’ schedule much. With an official announcement being made Friday, Purdue would have seven days to alter its Iowa City travel itinerary accordingly. Instead of having two days between games after playing Michigan and three days between games before playing Wisconsin, the Boilermakers would now have three days and two, respectively.

Under Big Ten guidelines, there’s only one day between games during conference play when one of the games didn’t originally have a set date (see Iowa playing Illinois two days after playing at Michigan State the final week of the season) or if a circumstance like what happened with Iowa and Indiana took place. Otherwise, there’s a minimum of two days between games.

If there are three or more days between conference games, schools must give players a day off. This is a Big Ten rule that McCaffery made mention of during his press conference Friday. Under this scenario, Purdue players’ mandatory day off would’ve originally happened March 2 (the day after playing Iowa) and would now occur Feb. 27, one day after playing Michigan.

Once Purdue was on board with agreeing to the date change, Iowa was then ready to consent to an agreement with Indiana, which Glass had said he was confident would get done before the Big Ten’s 72-hour window had expired.

Process now in TV’s hands

As of the evening of Feb. 20, the only remaining obstacle was television, which would factor into what time the game took place. Because ESPN was to carry the originally scheduled game between the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers on Feb. 18, it had first dibs on television rights for the make-up.

Late that night, ESPN made a noticeable change to its schedule. It originally had a game between Oregon and UCLA the night of Feb. 27 listed as taking place at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2. That game was bumped back two hours. Then a game scheduled for that same time slot on ESPN between Temple and Louisville was moved to ESPN2. The 8 p.m. CT window for ESPN would now be occupied by the make-up game.

As for Iowa’s game against Purdue, the Big Ten Network had the television rights and ultimately decided to have it follow its Wisconsin-Penn State telecast the afternoon of March 2 and the game is now set for 1 p.m. CT that day. The Ohio State-Minnesota women’s game originally in that BTN time slot got bumped over to BTN2Go.

With everything finalized, an announcement was ready to be made Friday morning.

The end result

So now the Hawkeyes’ itinerary for next week is as follows: First, it will travel to Minneapolis on Feb. 24 and then play Minnesota at Williams Arena on Feb. 25. Whenever the Minnesota postgame concludes that night, the Hawkeyes will then have their charter ready to fly them to Bloomington and preparations for the make up with Indiana will start there on Feb. 26.

Once the team returns home from playing the Feb. 27 make up at Indiana, it will now have two days to prepare for Purdue instead of only one. The game against the Boilermakers takes place March 2 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and Iowa players will have a mandatory day off from practice on March 3 before diving into preparations for their March 6 game at Michigan State.

As for Indiana, the Hoosiers will still get to play all of their three remaining home games at Assembly Hall. The only difference for them is they won’t have any mandatory days off from practice again until the week of the Big Ten Tournament.

Assuming no further structural damage occurs between now and Feb. 27, Indiana’s next home game at Assembly Hall will still be against Iowa as originally intended.

But just like that, a piece of metal led to a series of events concluding with Iowa not only making two trips to Bloomington, Ind., over a two-week span this month, but also having to re-schedule another game being played in Iowa City and now having six games over 15 days before the Big Ten Tournament.

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